Seattle - leader in climate change efforts
Mayor Greg Nickels and the city were praised for leading the nation on the issue and were urged to continue in their fight against planet-warming pollution in a packed event at City Hall.
"The United States of America has really messed up on this," said former Vice President Al Gore, the event's featured speaker. "But let me tell you about Seattle."
Over the past year, Nickels has led a campaign to get U.S. cities to pledge to meet or beat the goals set in the international Kyoto Protocol... By Friday, 219 cities had joined the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which strives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
Critics have questioned how much of a difference individual cities can make, but the cities signed on to the agreement include 44 million people -- and Americans are among the top greenhouse gas producers per capita.[Seattle's] proposed solutions are multifaceted in their approach and include increasing bus service, building more bike lanes and parking spaces, and discouraging driving by imposing tolls and higher parking lot taxes.The mayor is slated to come up with a final plan -- dubbed Seattle's Climate Action Plan -- in September. It will include funding sources and price tags for reaching the goals, which were not addressed in the recommendations.
But even as the city was basking in the glow of the proposal and successful recruitment of cities nationwide, some at the event already were asking for more.
"Kyoto, my friends, is not big enough," said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. "We need a bigger dream, we need a higher bar. ..."
"Seattle, lead again."